The pond at Kapichira Power Station has a capacity of nine million cubic meters (9.05m³) of which three million five hundred cubic meters (3.5m³) is active storage. Due to environmental degradation that has affected the Shire River, 80% of the water reservoir’s active storage capacity was filled with silt. This reduced the dam’s storage capacity, resulting in inadequate water for power generation, consequently reducing power generation of the power station.
Therefore, a dredging project is being carried out at Kapichira Power Station aimed at removing the accumulated silt in order to reclaim the reservoir’s original water storage capacity and improve power generation.
In order the dredging to commence, the project had two components; procurement of a dredger and construction of a dredged material placement area for the depositing of the dredged silt. A US$7million dredger was procured with financing from the Millennium Challenge Account Malawi (MCA-Malawi) under the US$350.1million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact. EGENCO financed the construction of the dredged material placement area with up to US$11.7million. Both components were carried out from April 2018 to September 2019.
Upon completion of the project, the dredger was commissioned and handed over for operation to EGENCO by the contractor, Elliott Contractors on 7 March 2020. The actual dredging operations commenced on 4 April 2020.
As of September 2020, approximately 3.0 million cubic meters of silt was removed from the water reservoir and had filled up one pit at the dredged material placement area. The whole dredging project is expected to take up to two years.